I’m still traveling for 40k To Far Away, but my journey is due to end in just a few hours. Greg and Nick have already shared how they used their points and cash, so it’s time for me to account for mine.
Over the last two weeks I’ve visited 6 different countries (not including a couple of countries where I had a layover but didn’t leave the airport), spent time in 9 different cities and – hopefully by the end of my journey tonight – will have taken 15 modes of transport.
During that time I traveled more than 13,000 miles and, most importantly, had a great time. I got to see some of Europe’s big cities, went troll-hunting in two different countries, saw my family, came out ahead after visiting a casino and still had plenty left in my budget by the end of the trip.
Even better, I managed to do all this while getting “home”. I say “home” as I don’t have one, but my wife’s been staying with her parents for the past two weeks in Portsmouth VA where we used to live, so I’m counting that as home for this journey. Getting back home wasn’t part of the challenge, but I decided to make it part of my strategy anyway – more on that tomorrow.
Check out the posts below for more about my journey:
- Days 1-4 Of Stephen’s 40k: Not Much Sleep, Lots Of Sights, Troll Hunting & More
- How The 1st Flight Stephen Booked Affected The Rest Of His Trip
- Days 5-6 Of Stephen’s 40k: Walking, Sightseeing, Walking, Family, Walking & Sleeping
- Days 7-10 Of Stephen’s 40k: Trolls, Lots Of Flying & A Risk That Didn’t Pay Off
I had 40,000 Membership Rewards and $400 to play with. I tried my hardest, but couldn’t find a good redemption for transferring my points to an airline, so I ended up redeeming them for 1.25cpp thanks to having the Schwab Platinum card. That effectively means I got $500 to spend thanks to Membership Rewards plus the original $400 cash balance.
As strange as it might sound, I had a hard time spending all my money even though I traveled for two whole weeks. Unless something goes horribly wrong in the next few hours, I’ll still have a decent amount left in my budget – maybe I should lend that to Nick for his overspend 😉
Here’s a breakdown of my spending by category:
- Flights – $385.83
- Coaches – $138.25
- City buses – $13.07
- Other Travel – $31.22
- Rental car – $64.44
- Lodging – $155.33
- Food – $127.67
- Experiences – $38.40
- Miscellaneous – $17.33
- Cashback/Rewards Earned – ($89.10)
- Total $971.54 – $89.10 = $882.44 (Remember that I had $900 to play with, so I was $17.56 under budget)
Here’s what my various flights cost:
- Newark-Toronto-Madrid-Zurich-Newark: $238.03
- MAD-YYZ on United
- YYZ-MAD on Air Canada
- MAD-ZRH-EWR on Swiss
- Madrid-Brussels: $37.51
- Brussels Airlines
- London-Copenhagen: $47.89
- Norwegian Air
- Copenhagen-Madrid: $62.40
- Norwegian Air
I took several coaches during the course of the trip as they were more economical than flying and also had me arriving in city centers rather than having to take a bus or train from an airport to get into the city.
- Washington D.C.-Newark: $16.25
- Greyhound, saved 25% thanks to this deal.
- Brussels-Paris: $10.15
- Paris-London: $15.23
- Flixbus, included a trip across the English Channel on a DFDS ferry.
- London-Guildford: $8.64
- National Express
- Newark-Atlantic City: $31.00
- Atlantic City-Washington D.C.: $27.00
- Washington D.C.-Richmond: $11.99
- Richmond-Norfolk: $17.99
- Newark Penn Station-Newark Airport: $1.60
- Brussels Airport-Brussels North Station: $3.29
- Brussels North Station-Boom Markt: $3.29
- Boom Markt-Brussels North Station: $3.29
- Newark Airport-Newark Penn Station: $1.60
- Madrid Metro: $9.24
- One day travel pass in Zone A
- Richmond Uber: $12.28
- I couldn’t face walking another 3.5 miles from the Greyhound station to my accommodation for the night. This was my final night on the trip, so I knew it wasn’t going to cause me to go over budget; if it had occurred earlier in the trip, I’d have sucked it up.
- Hampton Roads GoPass: $4.50
- Unlimited travel on public transport in Hampton Roads – using for Norfolk Tide (tram) and Elizabeth River Ferry.
- Bolt Scooter: $0.70
- Ride was $5.70, but I got $5 off for using a promo code as it was my first time riding with Bolt.
- Bolt Scooter: $2.40
- This ride was also in Richmond, riding from Kuba Kuba restaurant to Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
- Bolt Scooter: $2.40
- This ride was from VMFA to the Greyhound station.
- Rental Car: $40.90
- Sixt via RentalCars.com
- Parking: $1.47
- Parking lot by Kronborg Castle
- Gas: $22.07
Despite traveling for two weeks, I only paid for accommodation for five of those nights, while another night was spent for free when staying with my parents. Three nights were spent sleeping at airports, with the remaining nights spent on planes or buses on overnight journeys.
- London: $22.57
- PubLove @ The Steam Engine, booked through Hotels.com
- Atlantic City: $59.77
- Airbnb for two nights
- Washington D.C.: $35.00
- HI Washington D.C. Hostel, booked through Hotels.com
- Richmond: $37.99
- HI Richmond Hostel, booked through Hotels.com
I spent more than Greg and Nick on food for a few reasons. First, I traveled for twice as long, plus I decided to make part of my trip specifically about trying food from every country/city that I visited. They also had access to airport lounges for much of their trip, while I took a lot more journeys by bus and so didn’t have lounge access for much of the trip.
I only ended up getting through about half my wraps and tuna packs though as I did get to take advantage of some Priority Pass lounges and was well-fed when staying with my parents.
- Toronto: $1.04
- Tim Horton’s Donut
- Madrid: $7.14
- Boom: $7.14
- Curryworst, fries & soda
- Starbucks: $3.29
- While waiting several hours in Brussels for my bus to Paris
- Paris: $10.21
- Ham baguette and hot chocolate
- Paris: $2.20
- Two bottles of water
- Calais-Dover: $4.87
- Pot of tea & blueberry muffin on ferry across the English Channel
- London: $6.56
- Dinner from Sainsbury’s (grocery store) consisting of Scotch egg, pork pie, chips, fruit & chocolate milkshake. I know, I’m a model of clean eating.
- London: $4.18
- Sausage roll and bacon roll from Greggs
- Guildford: $12.93
- Tea and scones
- Helsingør/Copenhagen: $11.27
- Frikadeller (chicken meatballs) and two Danish pastries
- Newark: $4.25
- Egg & sausage bagel from Dunkin’ Donuts
- Atlantic City: $4.57
- McDonald’s – Hamburger, McChicken sandwich, fries & soda
- Atlantic City: $3.00
- Tip at Fresh Harvest buffet in Hard Rock Casino & Hotel
- Atlantic City: $1.49
- Bottle of water
- Atlantic City: $3.20
- McDonald’s – 2x McChicken sandwiches & soda
- Washington D.C.: $9.63
- Lunch at Bolt Burgers
- Richmond: $15.98
- Drinks + tip at Third Street Brewing
- Richmond: $1.00
- Potato chips
- Richmond: $13.72
- Lunch at Kuba Kuba
Most of my experiences were gained for free, such as walking around cities, going troll-hunting, etc. I did pay for a few things though:
- Madrid: $2.20
- Donation for visiting the crypt beneath Catedral de la Almudena
- Washington D.C.: $31.20
- Segway tour
- Washington D.C.: $5.00
- Tip for the Segway tour guide
I also had a few expenses which didn’t really fit in any of the above categories:
- Toronto: $5.30
- Madrid: $10.93
- Locker for my backpack
- Brussels or Paris (I forget which): $1.10
Both during the planning and the trip itself, I managed to earn cashback or rewards that added back into my budget in a number of ways. This is similar to how Greg earned 811 Ultimate Rewards for his trip, but on a more lucrative scale.
Here’s a breakdown:
- 714 Ultimate Rewards (worth $7.14)
- Earned by paying for the EWR-YYZ-MAD-ZRH-MAD flight with my wife’s Chase Sapphire Reserve. The 714 points can be used as a statement credit, thereby reducing the net cost of the flight by $7.14.
- 113 Ultimate Rewards (worth $1.13)
- Same as above, except for my flight with Brussels Airlines from Madrid to Brussels.
- 144 Ultimate Rewards (worth $1.44)
- Same as above, but for my flight from London to Copenhagen on Norwegian Air.
- 187 Ultimate Rewards (worth $1.87)
- Same as above, but for my Copenhagen to Madrid flight.
- $0.51 cashback from Discover
- I paid for my Brussels to Paris travel with Flixbus using PayPal. PayPal was a 5% category for Discover at the time, so I earned $0.51 cashback.
- $0.76 cashback from Discover
- Same as above, except this was for the Flixbus from Paris to London.
- $0.43 cashback from Discover
- Same as above, except this was for the National Express coach from London to Guildford.
- $6.77 cashback from American Express
- I booked my hostel in London through Hotels.com and paid with a gift card bought from Newegg at 30% off thanks to the Amex Offer.
- $9.36 cashback from American Express
- Same as above, except this was for a Groupon gift card that I used to pay for the Segway tour.
- $14.94 cashback from American Express
- This was for buying an Airbnb gift card from Staples using a 25% back Amex Offer to pay for my accommodation in Atlantic City.
- $44.75 casino winnings
- When status matching to Rock Royalty status at Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Atlantic City, I got $65 of free play. I managed to turn that into $44.75 of winnings thanks to the suggestions of people in the Frequent Miler Insiders group. Special thanks in particular to Sophia who recommended cashing out as I went along – this helped ensure I kept all of my winnings.
So all told, I had $17.56 left in my budget. I splurged a lot on my last couple of days with the Segway tour, burger, beers, Uber, Cuban food, etc., otherwise I’d have had closer to $100 left in my budget – not too shabby!
I also earned some additional rewards along the way that I haven’t accounted for here.
- Hotels.com – Three nights of my accommodation were booked through Hotels.com, so I’ll get back 10% in Welcome Rewards for each of those nights which will be worth an extra $9 or so.
- TopCashback – I booked all three nights of my Hotels.com stays after clicking through from TopCashback. Two of those tracked, so I have $2.44 pending; I should probably raise a claim for the other transaction.
- TopCashback – I clicked through to Brussels Airlines from TCB as they were offering 1.5% cashback at the time (it’s currently showing as 0%). That should’ve gotten me $0.56 cashback, but it didn’t track and so I’ve raised a claim.
- Quidco – Quidco is a UK-based cashback site that’s similar to TopCashback in that they pass on 100% of the cashback earned. I still have an account with them from when I lived in the UK and clicked through to National Express and Flixbus from there. (n.b. Flixbus USA is available on some US-based portals, but I wasn’t sure if European transactions would track). I have £0.16 pending for my National Express trip, but the Flixbus transactions never tracked, possibly because of those journeys originating in continental Europe rather than the UK. I might still try raising a claim, although it’d only get me the equivalent of $1.22 in GBP.
- United – I credited the miles earned from my EWR-YYZ-MAD-ZRH-EWR flight to United and so earned a grand total of 670 MileagePlus miles.
- Norwegian – I earned a total of 9 CashPoints from my two flights with Norwegian. Those are apparently worth ~$1, so it’s likely they’ll go to waste as I don’t think I’ll end up flying Norwegian again anytime soon and they expire after 48 months.
I think this covers everything, but let me know if you have any questions about my expenditure.
[…] mind, another option to consider is cashing out Membership Rewards points at a value of 1.25c each. Stephen did that last year and put together a pretty epic vacation (albeit during a time before social distancing and closing of […]
[…] 40,000 points $382.44 Details here […]
The trip with 40K and $600+ was awesome. The end with your son on your back, priceless!
That one was Nick – it was definitely a super-cute photo.
wonderful report Stephan, the money goes “further” in ypur wallet
[…] you might have seen from my accounting post yesterday, I redeemed my 40,000 Membership Rewards for 1.25cpp using the Schwab Platinum card. That gave me a […]
How did u get more than $400 to spend?!
In addition to the $400, I had 40,000 Membership Rewards to use. I redeemed those for 1.25 cpp (due to having the Schwab Platinum card) which gave me an additional $500 to spend.
[…] Stephen: Spent 40,000 points and $382.44 ($17.56 under budget). Details here. […]
I also enjoyed your trip as I did feel I could replicate it. I’m just a normal person…no business…no manufactured spending…and I don’t have large sums of money to blow on Vacations. I loved your route through Europe. It seemed very reasonable and something I’d do, though I would actually stay at hotels, as I do have certs and points for those as well. I hope I can catch a deal like yours for your round trip to Europe. That was a steal!
Thanks! Yep, if my wife and I were to do a similar trip together, we’d definitely stay in hotels along the way, although the hostels I stayed in were surprisingly nice.
Next time I’d like to see a competition where you all have to stay in hotels and fly J or better. Seeing you guys sleep in airports, take long bus rides, and eat lounge food isn’t exactly inspiring.
Although it’s not necessarily aspirational, I’d say it could still be inspiring for many people. While a lot of people in the points/miles world focus on business/first class redemptions, there are a lot of people – myself included – who’d rather travel economy to stretch their miles and points further. I’ve hopefully shown a number of ways they can do this on a budget, especially if they’re travelling as a family where their budget might be significantly stretched (or have a hard time finding availability) by flying in J or eating at nice restaurants.
Having said that, we may well end up doing some kind of premium travel competition in the future, so stay tuned 🙂
Awesome trip Stephen! I was keen to see how you ended up with your budget, only to see you basically came in under! Some may argue you spent more, but like you said, you had extra at the end and spent it. I wonder how cheaply you could have managed had you really wanted to! And props for hitting up Kuba Kuba, I used to love the pork shank there, I’m sure it wasn’t within your $14 lunch budget!
Watching the whole team race around the world, literally, I felt a bit bad that the rules were so strict that we had grown men sleeping on the floors of airports. That said, the competition was on, and you all rose to the occasion! Running far and wide on the cheap sure is a different “value” proposition than the TPG: FLY FIRST CLASS FOR FREE JUST CLICK ON THESE LINKS drivel, where trip reports show every single dish in the First Class cabin. Loved the real-world grit! Trolls! Sunrise breakfasts! South Pacific Yacht Club! That’s real travel, thanks for sharing!
Most of all, I’m motivated to hit the road again and find some great deals and #GoFar!
Awesome – one of the things that all three of us wanted to do was inspire people to show what was possible with their points and a reasonable cash budget.
I got lucky finding out about Kuba Kuba; I asked for recommendations at the hostel I was staying at and the guy at the front desk recommended it and it turned out to be excellent. I got their Cuban sandwich with chorizo and it was delicious, so I’ll be heading back there when we return to Richmond in the future.
Stephen will get my vote because he not only didn’t blow past his budget but made it all the way home on that budget. Greg and Nick just went one way.
Thanks! To be fair to Greg and Nick, getting home was specifically not included in the requirements of the challenge – that was a self-imposed addition to the challenge I set for myself, partly out of necessity (more about that tomorrow).
Stephen, first off, props for complying with the contest rules unlike Nick. I was incredibly disappointed with his decision to blatantly violate the rules even before he left his couch.
That said, I will still say that I am also disappointed with your decisionmaking. The point of this contest was to go “far away.” The rules of the contest didn’t require you to return to the United States. Western Europe is not “far away” from Washington, DC. It’s not particularly far in terms of distance, and it’s not inaccessible to people on the east coast by any stretch of the imagination. The concept of Europe on a shoestring budget is not exotic; thousands of backpackers every year can tell you that. And while I understand that you got a good deal, you wasted money selecting a roundtrip ticket to end your trip in the United States. Why not do something like fly to LYR while you were in Scandinavia and end the contest there? If the answer is that you felt like you didn’t want to do something like that, you shouldn’t have been in this contest to begin with and you should have encouraged Greg to give the Amex mantle to someone else, perhaps even a reader who would have had the time and energy to attempt to achieve the objective of the contest.
You get second by default but Greg is the clear winner here and it’s not even close. Greg, as the publisher of the site, should be disappointed with his competitors for how they played the game, and should think about locating people to compete against him next year who actually care about the rules and want to achieve the objective of the game.
I’m not really understanding your complaint. You’re saying I should’ve traveled further, but also that I should’ve just finished my trip in LYR after visiting Copenhagen. If I’d done the latter, I’d have covered fewer miles than I actually did by then traveling to Madrid, Zurich, Newark, Atlantic City, Washington D.C., Richmond and Norfolk/Portsmouth VA, which was your first complaint.
The challenge was to travel as far as possible, but there weren’t really any parameters placed on how that would specifically be judged as we wanted to let readers decide. As Greg had mentioned when announcing the challenge, that didn’t necessarily mean the person who traveled the most miles would be the winner.
There was no requirement to travel somewhere exotic, although there’s certainly no harm in having that be a feature of your trip like Greg and Nick. My strategy though was to create an itinerary that people might want to actually replicate for themselves by visiting popular cities and getting home again for 40k points & $400; being able to stretch this out so that it lasted two weeks was another way to push the “how far” concept.
Agreed that Western Europe and East Coast US aren’t aspirational destinations for most of us, but I think that’s exactly the point. Everyone on BA has been so conditioned to think that travel = Maldives or Bora Bora, that a “normal” vacation itinerary is a true out-of-box thinking. Good job Stephen!!!
Thank you! When people request to join the Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook group, they’re prompted to answer which place they most want to visit. A perhaps surprisingly large number of people mention locations in the US and Europe, so there’s certainly a large audience for people wanting to visit those places.
This trip 10-12 years ago with a weak USD to GBP/Euro. $2~1£ / $1.54~1€ would have had been a totally different trip. a strong USD is a two-edged sword for trade tho).
– this challenge makes me think of backpackers and hippies from the 70s (even tho I was in Elementary school) and backpacking and trains across Europe and jaunts to India.
I can totally relate to the frugality of traveling like this while in college and early married life -before kids. Even sleeping on the beach to save money to Scuba dive in the tropical waters in Asia (sands not very comfortable to sleep the night).
I think I enjoyed the game of it more than the actual grinding out the miles (frugally but youthful wanderlust covers a multitude of discomfort) – I much prefer a nice premium cabin and non-hostel or couch surfing – and staying at 4~5 star properties.
That said my wanderlust is much more satied – but it’s impressive what you guys did with you money and miles.
Thank you – I’m glad you enjoyed all our trips.
But even those of us that are older can use a lesson in frugality once in a while! I surely am not intending to sleep in an airport or bus station (nor anywhere else without a proper bed) but I think we could realize that we can do a lot more with our points and $$ if we stretch them sometimes. We try to do a mixture. Some nights a lower cost hotel or apartment (points or cash-wise and some at more luxurious hotels. Some meals we splurge but especially in Europe, we will shop at Sainsbury’s, Aldi’s or Coop and dine in our apartment for lunch or dinner many days. Same with flights. I understand people wanting a lie-flat seat on an overnight but there are such cheap flights to be had lately, especially back from Europe that are not overnight – saves points for the next overnight to have the lie-flat seat or just stretches your points.
That is a lot of travel for very little money. Congrats.
BTW, I am glad that you now know that “hand pies” are empanadas.
Yep, I’m a little disappointed in myself that I’d not realized that earlier!
I was so into your Europe week and I was rooting for you… and then you came back to the US and basically did a staycation. I was expecting something awesome like a cross country train ride, or flight to the Caribbean or Mexico or hopping across Canada like you did Europe. Gambling in a casino in AC isn’t exactly aspirational. I still have a lot of respect for you going 2 weeks, but I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop and now I’m disappointed.
I’m giving it to Greg for his interesting experiences, meeting people, + sleeping in beds rather than on floors. You’re a solid second and Nick obviously disqualified himself, but I would still probably put him third. I hope to see a rematch next year!
Lisa – this is Mrs Stephen – ha! He should’ve done something epic at the end. I told him AC and his second leg was kinda lame
Yes, was thinking Stephen will swing for the fences or something. Like close to polar area.
Don’t be so hard on the lad he made it home to travel another day the others didn’t !!!
Part of my strategy was to get “home” to Portsmouth VA, so that’s why I decided to stay on the east coast. I’d hoped the Atlantic City part of the trip would be a little better, but the accommodation fell through; we sometimes write about status matching from Hyatt to M life to Hard Rock, or Wyndham to Caesars, so I thought I’d be able to provide a real life example of how it works. I know that’s not of interest to everyone though (including my wife below 😉 )
So, I’m going to sound like the contest hardass. So, I’ll say at the beginning that the amount of travel that Stephen was able to put in for what he spent is absolutely incredible. All three of these trips were amazing.
But my vote is that Stephen blew his budget. Even accepting all the other cashback, the cash generated from the free play doesn’t quality to me as reducing the $400 and thus I have Stephen at at least $27 over. I also have a problem with the cash back, but I think the casino winnings are different. The challenge was to spend no more than $400. Just because you have a coupon or some other instrument or opportunity that you could use during a trip doesn’t reduce the amount you spent. Maybe one could argue that when you get cash back on a purchase, you actually are paying a little less. So, the fact that you get $5 in cash back to use at a later date for a flight that costs $100 arguably makes it so you spent $95. I actually think that’s debatable. But for the sake of argument, let’s say ok. The $65 in casino free play is different. This is a benefit that is not directly tied to the $400 that Stephen spent. It’s not a return or a reduction. It could have been used at any time. It’s no different to me than if United was offering a $200 voucher if you sign up for a credit card and you used that voucher to do the challenge.
I view Greg’s 811 points sort of the same, although much less so. He actually got those back before the trip and then used them. Seems to me that one contestant kept within the rules and the other two did not. I don’t know if it’s disqualifying, but it’s also probably not fair to judge Greg the same as the other two — especially Nick. I think Nick’s itinerary was better than Greg’s but I wonder what Greg could have done with another $200.
I completely disagree with this. There is literally no difference between spending $405 where $5 is cash back and $465 where $65 is free play, or spending 40,811 UR in Greg’s case. Both result in the spending of more than $400 or 40K. The contest rules permitted them to spend the additional money or points.
I guess I consider the $65 to be part of what I did on the trip. The plan had been for me to status match to Rock Royalty status to get two free nights at the Hard Rock Casino. The free nights didn’t work out as they were booked up, but I don’t think anyone would’ve had an issue with me taking advantage of those free nights as it was part of the trip.
Some other benefits you get from status matching are comedy club tickets, passes to the Fresh Harvest buffet and $65 free play. If I’d gone to the comedy club for free, I don’t think anyone would’ve minded. I ate for free at the buffet which no one has said I shouldn’t have done, so using the $65 in free play to generate some cash seemed fair game to me. Otherwise, I’d have not splurged during my final two days and so would’ve stayed under budget if the $44.75 from the casino hadn’t been taken into account.
I can see your point. It’s a fine line. If you used an IHG credit card free night is that ok? Is it different from using priority pass to eat? I guess that’s part of the fun — to debate it. Either way, it’s funny that the discussion has $45 as a splurge!
One of the few rules we did make was that things like credit card free nights weren’t eligible. Credit card benefits for specific dollar amounts (e.g. $15 Uber credit, $300 CSR travel credit, etc.) weren’t eligible either, although other card benefits that didn’t have a tangible dollar value (WeWork, Priority Pass, etc.) were fair game.
As for splurging, it has definitely been funny that even taking a could of scooters today for a couple of bucks a time felt like a splurge compared to how restrained I’d been with my budget for the rest of the trip!
I’m inclined to agree with Larry on this point. However, had that rule been explicit, Stephen could have skipped that Segway tour and stayed $10 under. That would have zero effect on how far he traveled or the number of cities he toured. This is quite different from Nick’s case because he couldn’t cut back on expenditure without missing a big middle flight.
Yep, I’d certainly have reined in my spending over the last 48 hours if I’d deemed myself in danger of going over budget.
I’m not sure how much it matters, but towards the top, you list Madrid-Toronto-Madrid instead of Newark-Toronto-Madrid I believe.
Thanks for the heads up – I’ve fixed that now.
You stretched that money in a way that the majority of the readers wouldn’t have, which is one of your strengths (really one of your edges, honestly) and makes you a great compliment to Greg’s and Nick’s smart miles redemptions. I liked that you not only stretched out your trip longer than the other guys, but your food looked better and you also flew back home. I know the main factor in this whole challenge began with who could go the farthest, but it was nice to see you complete the trip, full circle, with the small budget you had. Reading how Greg and Nick end their trips far from home only had the “yeah, but now you have to spend some more money and/or miles to get back home” comment pop into my head even though their itineraries were also impressive. But hey, it’s subjective! Who says you can’t do Europe (and even a tiny bit DC and Atlantic City) for under $1,000, all-inclusive? Gotta give credit where credit is due.
For Nick and Greg, I bet those beds back home never felt better upon their returns!
A+ for you, just shy of A+ for Greg, and A- for Nick (only because he blew the budget, but still did very well with the resources he had).
Thank you 🙂
A lot of people, especially those not into FF, would have taken a look at your map and said it was impossible to fly all that for < $400, especially the Madrid-Toronto-Madrid-Zurich-Newark flights.
Personally I didn't think it was necessary to account in the budget for sleeping. The adventure to me (and maybe most) was how to maximize travel with miles, points, small amount of cash. Not too many people are going to avoid getting a hotel to get a proper night's rest.
And the trolls were definitely interesting.
You guys did a great job.
yes agree with the sleeping – either don’t count the cost next time or include a requirement and additional points!
Absolutely more $ should have been included for lodging, I didn’t like their very safety compromised when it just wasn’t necessary! Lodging is often times the most expensive part of a trip – finding creative & economical( (yet realistic) ways to fill that need would be really helpful. The emphasis this challenge was clearly on getting there, but I would also enjoy something similar in the future both for lodging & food using points & miles.
I Enjoyed your summary. I liked the idea of traveling to Europe and returning home also. Just a note; Frikadeller is made of veal and pork, not chicken. Frikadeller and red cabbage are the best.
Thanks! I think traditional frikadeller must be made that way, but the version I got was made of chicken – I forgot to take a photo of the package and so couldn’t remember for my post what its full name was; I think it might have been kylling frikadeller?
I actually like your trip better because I think you probably enjoyed your trip more, with more time to see the sites. You also ate better! I know you didn’t go as far but you went to many places. If I had to duplicate one, it would be yours. And now I want to take Flix Bus across the Channel. That never occurred to me. We have used Flix Bus a few times and we have taken the Euro Star to Paris.
Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it – one of the things I was trying to achieve with my trip was to create an itinerary that people might want to actually recreate for themselves.
If you haven’t taken a ferry across the Channel before, it’s definitely worth doing for fun. It only takes something like 1.5 hours, so it’s not a particularly long journey, plus you can stretch your legs a lot more, get some fresh air (so long as it’s not too cold out), etc.
Seems like a good work around for LHR transpo taxes as well.
We will definitely put the channel crossing via Flix Bus/Ferry on our list.
Could you please explain more how you cashed out your free play? That’s very interesting. Thank you.
I’m actually planning on writing a more detailed post about that in the coming days as I thought it’d be helpful for anyone status matching at any of the casinos, so stay tuned for that.